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Radio still making waves

Team Simoco is promoting digital radio, which super charges radio communications while still retaining the old advantages.

Radio communications may seem outdated in the modern world of 3G, but the technology is still an important and growing part of many industries’ communications set-up. One of the largest players in the field, Team Simoco is at Gitex 2004 to further the case for radio and to highlight the latest technology in the field, Tetra or digital radio.

Although it is a much older technology than mobile phones, radio still has many advantages as a means of communication. Notably, it can enable one-click communications, which is advantageous for emergency services personnel, for instance, who can call back into headquarters with just the press of a button rather than fiddling with a mobile phone. Also, the technology is able to broadcast the same messages to a number of recipients simultaneously, and to support multiple speakers at the same time, which is something standard mobile phones cannot perform as yet.

These advantages are now being coupled with digital capabilities, which allow much greater amounts of data to be sent down a radio channel along with the voice stream. Tied with a video enabled handset, this can allow users to send photographs and other large files.

“Digital radio allows large chucks of data to be sent to the user,” says Paul Ward, international sales, director, Team Simoco. “This could be a fingerprint, photographs of a suspect or images from a road traffic accident, for example.”

The police and other emergency services are naturally among Team Simoco’s target market, and the firm through its UAE distributor, Alpha Data, already services the communication needs of Abu Dhabi’s police force. However, the company has also provided equipment for a number of players in the oil & gas sector and to large utilities, such as the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). SEC and others have deployed Team Simoco solutions to use radio to link different sites to a central Scala system. “Utilities are always interested in data acquisitions systems,” comments Ward.

At Gitex, Team Simoco has the twin objective of meeting potential costumers and also of seeking out possible resellers. The company is also showcasing new products at the show, which are making their debut in the Middle East. These include a base station repeater and a new lightweight portable radio unit. This unit combines microprocessor technology and a Lithium ion battery, which is 60 grams less than previous models. “The unit is significantly lighter than past units, and this make a big difference to people who are carrying radios around all day,” says Ward.

Team Simoco is also promoting a radio-enabled chemical suit for use in spillage situations. Present chemical suits often make using a radio awkward, but Team Simoco has got round this problem by putting the radio kit inside the suit. The equipment also allows the wearer to talk to people around them through an intercom. “This way injured parties and other people caught up an accident, for instance, can much more clearly hear what their rescuers are saying,” notes Ward.

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